Photo by Amin Ismail, UNAMID.
EL FASHER – Remembering fallen peacekeepers was a key part of a ceremony observing the International Day of UN Peacekeepers held at UNAMID headquarters in El Fasher, North Darfur today.
Attended by Mission leadership, a representative of North Darfur and UNAMID military, police and civilian staff, the event included a military and police parade. Peacekeepers who lost their lives in the line of duty were honoured with a minute of silence and the laying of wreaths. The lags of Sudan, the African Union and the UN were lowered to half-mast as a further sign of respect.
Related events were organized by the Mission in all sectors across Darfur and in Khartoum.
Bintou Keita, UNAMID’s Deputy Joint Special Representative-Protection, read the UN Secretary-General’s message, which took the theme of ‘Investing in Peace around the World”.
Twelve peacekeepers have been killed to date this year, while more than 3,500 have lost their lives across the years while serving the UN.
“Their efforts on behalf of the international community are one of the most concrete expressions of the UN Charter’s determination ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.’ We all owe them a great debt,” said Ms. Keita.
Peacekeeping operations have evolved from monitoring of ceasefires to protection of civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, and minimizing land-mine risks.
“The UN is working hard to make all our peacekeeping operations cost-effective from start to finish. We are constantly finding ways to reform, restructure and drive costs down. At the same time, UN peacekeepers are relentless in searching for new ways to build sustainable peace,” said Ms. Keita, quoting the Secretary-General’s message.
Hamaza Abass, the Minister of Culture and Environment for North Darfur, who was representing the Wali (Governor) of North Darfur at the event, expressed his appreciation to UNAMID peacekeepers for their efforts in support of peace, stability and development in Darfur.
Mr. Abass reiterated the commitment of the Government of North Darfur to cooperate with UNAMID in the cause of peace.
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers is celebrated worldwide. More than 113,000 ‘Blue Helmets’, UN Police and civilian personnel are currently deployed to 16 missions, while more than one million women and men have served under the UN flag.